Zbrush introduction!



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Henning Sanden


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We had a lesson in which Henning sculpted a sea monster using Zbrush and were able to see how he carries out his projects. I found the exercise very useful. I was able to see where I was making mistakes and to rectify them.  Below are my notes I took which I think are very useful.

Don’t just sculpt

Start with a solid approach to it

Outside to in. < wrong approach

Should start from the inside out.

Start with skeleton

Then the muscles <— Anatomy comes into play

Origin insertion muscles

Layer of fat on muscles then layer of skin.

Then spend time getting reference. We want to skin, skeleton, Similar creatures e.g crocodile.

Is it an Alpha? If it is

Could start with a maya model or 3d scan.

Start with z sphere.

Block out an overall body

Overlay the model.

Want the proportions to be as correct as the get go.

Brushes i use exclusively

Move> clay build up> dam standard> standard>Inflate brush


Porportion is most vital stage

What environment?

‘v’ look silhouette

Function over everything

Do you believe it could live in the environment

Will never use smooth brush at this stage as it will get rid of any information

We need to make him functional so in this sea creature it needs a strong jaw

For the face you could reference dinosaur.

Don’t save it as a project save it as a tool.  Easily corruptible

Under geometry zmesher

now smooth do not do it before that point.

Now you do the muscles

Clay build up

alpha o6 (3rd tool)

Export out of an obj if it corrupts then you open it up again it should work.


Get spine down, then spatula, get ribcage, you need to know landmarks and the ports in anatomy

clay build up builds onto of one layer

clay brush only creates one layer


alt for sculpt down

brush auto masking and back face masking?

Symmetry always on

When I try to do a character I try to always model with the mouth closed

Keep stuff subtle and look at reference

Get a second monitor , Rarely use image plane


lock scale and position first base mesh in maya

Send it out in sphere for instance or make blocks etc

Consider the model 360 degrees silhouette

Look at tablet settings in zbrush

hair : Stylise hair – Don’t do fiber mesh

plug in for posing: advanced skeleton – Free plug in in maya where you can put the joints.

Don’t smooth stuff over just go over with brushstrokes

simplify it to make it stronger

don’t change focal shift for sculpting

work on the entire thing as you go on don’t focus on one area consistency

Sculpt with perspective on

default is on 90 work on 50 (under draw angle of view)

This will correspond with the camera

I have reached to 200,000 polys think its time to sub it up so sub divide till 800,000

alt and dam standard

Don’t texture in zbrush

cplug in ? export > mirror

merge teeth down

Use dam standard for details

Consider the texture of the skin, not everything is flat

Professional Advice:


Don’t write about yourself in 3rd person

portfolio: I don’t care about anything else.

I want to know what work you do.. I don’t care about extra curriculum

Don’t oversell yourself

Sell yourself as a student

Look at professionals linked in

Shortcuts in Zbrush to use:

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